Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa prepares for surge of power and press

Greg Lane, left, national project director of Freeman Contracting, and Mike Miller, center, the Republican National Committee’s chief operating officer for the Committee on Arrangements, lead media members through the St. Pete Times Forum on Monday.


Greg Lane, left, national project director of Freeman Contracting, and Mike Miller, center, the Republican National Committee’s chief operating officer for the Committee on Arrangements, lead media members through the St. Pete Times Forum on Monday.


The 2012 Republican National Convention is still more than a year away, but even early preparations suggest its sheer scale and complexity.

With each television network and 13,000 to 15,000 journalists in attendance, it is expected to use more cables and fiber connections and draw more electricity than anything ever held in Florida.

"We've not been involved in a convention in recent times … where a facility had enough power to handle the entire convention," said Greg Lane, the national project director for Freeman, the GOP's general contractor for the convention.

As a result, organizers are working with Tampa Electric to determine whether they need to bring in additional power.

"Usually about 3 o'clock on the Friday afternoon before the convention we have everybody in here and say, 'Turn on all the juice that you're ever going to use,' and we make sure we can hold it," said Mike Miller, chief operating officer for the GOP's Committee on Arrangements.

On Monday, local TV and radio stations had a chance to walk through the St. Pete Times Forum and get a rough idea of what they may pay for working broadcast spaces in the arena.

The costs for a broadcast suite have not been set, but in 2008 in St. Paul, Minn., they ranged from nearly $18,000 to more than $34,000. The price is calculated by the square foot, based on the cost of making the space ready.

At the arena, workers will remove the bolted-down stadium seats, the furniture, even the ceiling tiles from the suites and store them off-site. Then they will cover the floors with plywood and plastic sheeting and similarly protect things they can't remove, like built-in cabinets.

Broadcasters can also pay for 6-by-12-foot stand-up positions at various points. In St. Paul, those ran about $8,500 each.

Outside the arena, however, this convention won't feature the acres of trailers seen in the past. In Philadelphia in 2000, broadcasters set up some 300 trailers. But by the time of the 2008 GOP convention in St. Paul, most of the major networks had grown tired of the expense and logistical difficulties of working out of trailers. They said they would trade less space to work indoors.

In the Channel District, there isn't room for hundreds of trailers anyway. So the Tampa Convention Center will become a huge hub of working space for journalists. Somewhere in the convention campus, organizers also plan, as they have done before, a "Radio Talk Show Row" and a "Bloggers Row."

The downsides to using the Tampa Convention Center will be the challenge of running cables to the arena and the fact that it rains virtually every day in August. Organizers are talking about running shuttle buses between the convention center and arena.

The convention will run from Aug. 27 to Aug. 30, 2012, but organizers will get unlimited access to the arena starting on July 15, 2012, and will have until nearly midnight Sept. 13 to pack up after the event.

Monday's briefing, attended by about two dozen local broadcasters, was the precursor of a two-day walk-through in December that could draw 400 journalists.

And that's small compared with the event itself, which is expected to require 350 full-sized charter buses, more than 7,500 volunteers, 75 event venues on both sides of Tampa Bay and 15,000-plus hotel rooms every night of the convention.

"This is the single largest media event almost anywhere in the world except for the Olympic Games," said Ken Jones, president of the 2012 Tampa Bay Host Committee, a nonprofit working to raise more than $50 million in tax-deductible contributions for the event.

"We want to make sure we make the city shine."

Richard Danielson can be reached at or (813) 226-3403.

2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa prepares for surge of power and press 06/20/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 13, 2011 4:53pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. In advertising, marketing diversity needs a boost in Tampa Bay, nationally


    TAMPA — Trimeka Benjamin was focused on a career in broadcast journalism when she entered Bethune-Cookman University.

    From left, Swim Digital marketing owner Trimeka Benjamin discusses the broad lack of diversity in advertising and marketing with 22 Squared copywriter Luke Sokolewicz, University of Tampa advertising/PR professor Jennifer Whelihan, Rumbo creative director George Zwierko and Nancy Vaughn of the White Book Agency. The group recently met at The Bunker in Ybor City.
  2. Kushner to testify before two intelligence committees


    WASHINGTON— President Donald Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner is set to make a second appearance on Capitol Hill — he will speak with the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, one day after he is scheduled to speak with Senate Intelligence Committee investigators behind closed doors.

    White House senior adviser Jared Kushner is scheduled to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee and the House Intelligence Committee. [Associated Press]
  3. Rays blow lead in ninth, lose in 10 to Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Rays manager Kevin Cash liked the way Alex Cobb was competing Friday night. He liked the way the hard contact made by the Rangers batters went away after the second or third inning. So as the game headed toward the ninth, there was no doubt in Cash's mind that sending Cobb back to the mound was …

    Rays starter Alex Cobb can hardly believe what just happened as he leaves the game in the ninth after allowing a leadoff double then a tying two-run homer to the Rangers’ Shin-Soo Choo.
  4. Exhumation of Dalí's remains finds his mustache still intact


    FIGUERES, Spain — Forensic experts in Spain have removed hair, nails and two long bones from Salvador Dalí's embalmed remains to aid a court-ordered paternity test that may enable a woman who says she is the surrealist artist's daughter to claim part of Dalí's vast estate.

    Salvador Dal? died in 1989 leaving vast estate.
  5. Sessions discussed Trump campaign-related matters with Russian ambassador, U.S. intelligence intercepts show


    WASHINGTON — Russia's ambassador to Washington told his superiors in Moscow that he discussed campaign-related matters, including policy issues important to Moscow, with Jeff Sessions during the 2016 presidential race, contrary to public assertions by the embattled attorney general, current and former U.S. …

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation after meetings with an ambassador were revealed.